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How Florida State has won 29 in a row

Jimbo Fisher and the Seminoles go into the Rose Bowl two victories from another national championship trophy after they claimed the last one of the BCS era.
Jimbo Fisher and the Seminoles go into the Rose Bowl two victories from another national championship trophy after they claimed the last one of the BCS era.
Published Dec. 29, 2014

Oregon coach Mark Helfrich doesn't seem fazed by Florida State's slow starts or occasionally ugly wins. As his Ducks prepare to face the defending national champion in the Rose Bowl, Helfrich seems incredulous at how the Seminoles continue to find ways to win. • "It just doesn't happen," Helfrich said. "When you get to 29 games, that's extremely, extremely impressive." • Here's a look at some of the games, moments and statistics that have made the Seminoles' ACC-record 29-game winning streak so impressive:

Four statement wins

Orange Bowl (Jan. 1, 2013): By shutting down No. 16 Northern Illinois and Heisman finalist Jordan Lynch in a 31-10 win, FSU re-established itself as a national power with its first BCS bowl win since 2000.

No. 25 Maryland (Oct. 5, 2013): FSU dominated a 4-0 Maryland team, outgaining the Terrapins 614-234 in a 63-0 blowout. The Seminoles' win tied the largest margin of victory ever involving a team in the AP top 25.

At No. 3 Clemson (Oct. 19, 2013): The biggest ACC matchup in years was one-sided. Winston threw for 444 yards, and FSU scored the most points ever allowed at Clemson in a 51-14 demolition.

2014 ACC Championship (Dec. 6, 2014): No. 11 Georgia Tech was perhaps the best team FSU played this season, and its triple-option offense was a problem early. But a 37-35 win erased any doubt about whether FSU belonged in the final four.

Four close calls

2014 BCS title game (Jan. 6, 2014): The biggest statement of all was the Seminoles' third national title, of course, and this victory taught them how to come from behind. FSU trailed Auburn 21-3 before Winston led the winning, 80-yard drive and fired his 2-yard touchdown to Kelvin Benjamin with 13 seconds left.

No. 5 Notre Dame (Oct. 18, 2014): Winston starred in the second half (15-of-16) but nearly saw his 31-27 lead disappear in the final seconds. Notre Dame converted on fourth and 18 and appeared to go ahead on a fourth-down TD pass with 17 seconds left. But the Irish were flagged for a controversial (but seemingly correct) offensive pass interference penalty that wiped out what would have been the go-ahead score.

At No. 25 Louisville (Oct. 30, 2014): A Thursday matchup with the country's top-ranked defense looked like a trap game. FSU fell behind 21-0 before outscoring the Cardinals 35-10 in the second half to pull away.

At Miami (Nov. 15, 2014): FSU faced another early deficit (23-7 in the first half) against an instate rival. The 'Noles got a break when Karlos Williams caught a tipped pass for a touchdown, and Miami native Dalvin Cook put FSU ahead for good with a 26-yard touchdown run with 3:05 left.

Four big plays

Hail Mary (Sept. 28, 2013): Boston College gave FSU one of its biggest tests of the national title run by taking a 14-0 lead. The Seminoles took the lead for good on the final play of the first half, when Winston lobbed a 55-yard Hail Mary TD to Kenny Shaw in a 48-34 road win. FSU didn't trail in any of its next nine games.

Fake punt (Jan. 6, 2014): Take your pick of big plays in the final BCS title game, but let's go with Jimbo Fisher's gutsy call. Down 21-3 late in the second quarter to Auburn, FSU ran a fake punt from its own 40. Williams' 7-yard run secured a first down and led to Devonta Freeman's touchdown with 1:28 left in the half. The trick call shifted momentum and sparked the second-half comeback.

Goldman's forced fumble (Sept. 20, 2014): Defensive tackle Eddie Goldman had the biggest play of his career against No. 22 Clemson. With less than two minutes remaining, he knocked the ball out of C.J. Davidson's hands inside FSU's red zone to keep the score tied at 17. The fumble kept the Tigers from the go-ahead score and gave the 'Noles the chance to earn a 23-17 overtime win.

Pick six (Nov. 29, 2014): Florida was in the red zone and in position to extend its 9-0 lead when linebacker Terrance Smith caught a deflected pass in the first quarter. He returned the interception 94 yards for a touchdown, and FSU stayed perfect with a 24-19 victory.

Contact Matt Baker at mbaker@tampabay.com. Follow @MBakerTBTimes.